Sawed-Off, the Homeless Emcee

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From  (yes, that D-Nice)

About a week ago, my brother and I had a discussion about how the rap industry has shifted from supporting emcees who can really spit to showcasing clowns who sing and/or drool catch phrases over beats for three and a half minutes. My argument was that if record companies put out nothing but quality shit, they’d create a market of quality shit and heads would consume it. He, being a veteran of the music industry and having dealt with his share of bullshit, pointed out that lots of genuinely talented rappers have come and go in the past few years only enjoying mediocre levels of success: No one wants to hear that rappers who have skills anymore. I still hold my idealistic position, thinking that label execs should have a bit more patience since it’ll take lots of energy to move from the inertia of the lowest common denominator. But shit… that may all be a moot point since record companies are still trying to find their feet in a shifty 21st century digital landscape.

Anyway.. Yesterday, one of my boys posted the video above on Facebook. Watching this gritty and compelling video brought me back to last week’s discussion and to one of the eternal constants when it comes to artists. When a great artist of just about any discipline is hungry, his/her first work to reach the general public is usually dope. But when the artist gains a little bit of fame and money, their subsequent (at least sophomore) works  generally tend to come up short. Of course there are exceptions.  So what would happen with an emcee who’s not just hungry, he’s starving; who has no safe place to sleep; a man who bathes and washes his clothes when he can hustle his way into it? Would he turn into a gullier KRS-One, who was also homeless at one point in his life but probably didn’t have the same appetite for violence; or at least didn’t debut in a rap world already accustomed to glorified griminess? Would “Sawed-Off” continue a life of relative austerity or would he ball-out, fiending for and rhyming about everything material that he’d been denied by choice and circumstance, even after taking shots at 50 Cent for doing just that?

I’m not sure that he has the skills, but I’d like to see “Sawed-Off” succeed in the rap game, partly because I can’t stand to see people suffer and the world would be a better place without people feeling like they had limited options in doing whatever’s necessary to survive. But I’ll admit that there’s a macabre curiosity in me, not unlike the old dudes in Trading Places, who just wants to see what’ll happen.


~ by Chief Racka on March 7, 2009.

2 Responses to “Sawed-Off, the Homeless Emcee”

  1. dude looks mad grimey.

  2. yo.. dictionary definition.

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